Morristown NJ Seeing Eye seeks volunteers for puppy training program


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For many dog ​​lovers, the idea of ​​having a puppy at 7 weeks old and abandoning it a year later is a failure. This is not the case for the Seeing Eye volunteers.

For those participating in the Seeing Eye Community Volunteer Puppy Breeding Program, this is the joyful opportunity of a lifetime.

“My husband and I raised four puppies and I can’t say enough good things about the Seeing Eye, a wonderful cause and a wonderful organization,” said Alison Deeb, former member of Morristown City Council. “There are some amazing people out there. I’m just a fraction of what the others have done.”

Melissa Baumgartner is currently paired with Boden, her 16th Seeing Eye puppy.

“I know people who have had 40,” said the Madison resident.

Baumgartner said she got involved with the Seeing Eye through Morris County’s 4-H program. She thought it would be a good experience for her daughter, who was 9 at the time.

“She will be 28 in a few months,” Baumgartner said. “We still do.”

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A family of puppy breeders are responsible for providing a loving and nurturing family environment for about a year. During this time, the breeder is responsible for teaching basic obedience, good house manners, bringing the puppy to Seeing Eye Puppy Club meetings and socializing trips to their area.

“Our club meets once a week,” Baumgartner said. “We’re going to the Paper Mill Playhouse on Saturday. Next week we’re going to New York. He’s going to be working with me. He’s been with me pretty much everywhere.”

“It’s not for everyone,” Deeb said. “Believe me, it’s a big commitment, and a lot harder than it looks. But if you like dogs, it’s a lot of fun.”

Besides the pleasure of having a puppy by his side, another advantage of the program lies in the human bonds that the program forges between the participants.

“I love dogs, I love people,” Baumgartner said. “It created friendships that have stood the test of time. Even among some of the people who are no longer involved.”

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“You go to weekly classes and learn,” Deeb said. “It’s like a club atmosphere. It’s a connection with a great group of people.”

For Deeb, the connection goes even deeper.

“My mom was blind so it connects me to the organization,” she said. “She was a big dog lover. When I first started doing this I brought the puppies to her and it was a great experience. It connects me to her mind.”

Puppy Meetings

Seeing Eye puppies are German Shepherds, Labradors, Golden Retrievers, or a Lab-golden retriever crossbreed.

The clubs are divided by region and meet regularly to provide puppy breeders with training tips, advice, and share puppy care responsibilities when a family has plans that prevent them from keeping their puppy for the holidays and the like. Conflicts.

Puppy breeders must live in the New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania area. All veterinary expenses are covered by the Seeing Eye and a stipend is provided to help cover the cost of dog food.

“We need homes and families of all shapes and sizes for our puppies as fully trained Seeing Eye dogs are placed in equally diverse families and living situations with people who are blind and visually impaired,” Jaycox said. “We do not require applicants to have experience training dogs or raising puppies, as we provide all the necessary support. ”

If a Seeing Eye puppy has not graduated from the program, the family that raised the puppy is offered the first option of adoption.

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MP Aura Dunn, who represents Morristown, had her family on the waiting list to raise puppies before choosing to adopt a dog, Reagan, during the pandemic.

She remains a supporter and actually helped Senator Anthony Bucco lead a bill last year to make Seeing Eye dogs the official dog for the state of New Jersey.

“I used to take my son’s Boy Scout troop on a tour of the Seeing Eye, which was very emotional,” Dunn said. “The Seeing Eye is incredibly important to this field, and really to the state. I would like to help raise awareness of what they do, to help people live independently. ”

“Raising a Seeing Eye puppy is a great way for kids to discover the value of giving back to the community, or a project for people who are retired and looking to donate their time to a good cause,” said Jaycox. “It’s never easy to make a puppy, but our volunteers always agree that watching the transformation from puppy to Seeing Eye dog is worth it.

“These dogs aren’t meant to be couch potatoes,” Baumgartner said. “They are active dogs. They need a job to take care of. They want that job and you want them to be happy. You don’t want to deny them it.”

Statistics

  • Since 1929, 17,700 partnerships between individuals and dogs have been created.
  • There are approximately 1,500 current Seeing Eye dog users in the United States and Canada.
  • The Seeing Eye serves an average of 260 blind and visually impaired people each year
  • Dogs that are not in guide or breeding programs are called career change dogs and are placed with other service organizations, law enforcement, search and rescue agencies or adopted by the public.
  • On June 11, 1928, Morris Frank and Buddy, the first Seeing Eye dog, sailed into New York Harbor. They impressed skeptics as they crossed busy West Street (nicknamed Death Street) in New York City.

For more information, see the Seeing Eye website at: https://www.seeingeye.org/about-us/contact-us.html

William Westhoven is a local reporter for DailyRecord.com. For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.

Email: [email protected] Twitter: @wwesthoven



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